Bombardier has been busy over the past two years, presumably working on something new for the Can-Am Spyder. While not exactly a new idea, the Canadian company has devised a control system for a leaning vehicle…a three-wheeled vehicle shaped like a Spyder according to the patent application that was filed in in July 2009, and published this January (yes, it really takes the USPTO that long just to publish an application, let alone grant a patent). While the technical drawings have little bearing on the final product, it would at least seem logical to conclude that we can expect a leaning Can-Am Spyder in the near future.
For now this technology is just in the application process, and Bombardier hasn’t received a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office yet. Likely unable to get past the prior art for other leaning trike designs as a whole, Bombardier’s patent focuses on the linkage for the steering mechanism, and how to overcome some of the deficiencies in current designs. Diving into the claims of the patent, Bombardier actually has a pretty clever way of having the Spyder’s frame lean and not lean under the right circumstances, which should make for a more refined three-wheeled leaning chassis.
During low-speed turns for example, the linkage prevents the three-wheeler from going into a lean, or at least a steep lean, keeping the trike mostly upright. Add some speed though, and the control mechanism allows for the Spyder to go into a steeper lean angle, riding more like a motorcycle.
The design also overcomes one issue with leaning trikes: keeping them upright at a stop. Instead of having a manual lock, Bombardier’s system again determines whether the bike should lean over or not, and when stopped or parked, keeps the three-wheeler upright.